Beaters are there to flush out the birds into the path of the Guns, so they have something to shoot and they are an essential part of any shoot day.
What can I shoot?
There are a number of gamebirds, waterfowl (ducks, geese and waders) and other bird species, as well as mammals, which can be shot legally.
For many of them, there is a close season when it is illegal to shoot them, and this helps to ensure that they are able to breed successfully and move between breeding and wintering grounds.
The bird quarry species and their open seasons in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands are shown below.
The exception to the rule is on the Isle of Man, where a licence is required to shoot game and is available from the Treasury Office. Game is defined as pheasant, partridge, grouse or moor game and hare (brown or common). A game dealer’s licence is also required for those wishing to deal in game.
There is no requirement for a game licence on Guernsey but you must hold an appropriate firearm or shotgun certificate.
In Jersey there are no game seasons and therefore a game licence is not required. Is this relevant?
Game licences to kill or take (shoot) game are not required in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland. However, in Scotland, a venison dealer’s licence is still required for those wishing to deal venison although deer stalkers can sell their venison direct to a dealer without the need for a licence.
|Species||England and Wales||Scotland||Northern Ireland||Isle of Man|
|Pheasant||Oct 1 – Feb 1||Oct 1 – Feb 1||Oct 1 – Jan 31||Oct 1 – Jan 31|
|Grey partridge||Sep 1 – Feb 1||Sep 1 – Feb 1||Sep 1- Jan 31||Protected (ban in force)|
|Red-legged partridge||Sep 1 – Feb 1||Sep 1 – Feb 1||Sep 1- Jan 31||Sep 13 – Jan 31|
|Red grouse||Aug 12 – Dec 10||Aug 12 – Dec 10||Aug 12 – Nov 30||Aug 25 – Oct 31 *|
|Black grouse||Aug 20 – Dec 10 (Somerset, Devon and New Forest: Sep 1 – Dec 10)||Aug 20 – Dec 10||—||—|
|Ptarmigan||—||Aug 12 – Dec 10||—||—|
|Duck and goose inland||Sep 1 – Jan 31||Sep 1 – Jan 31||Sep 1 – Jan 31||Sep 1 – Jan 31 – DucksJuly 1 – Mar 31 – Geese**|
|Duck and goose below HOST (see below)||Sep 1 – Feb 20||Sep 1 – Feb 20||Sep 1 – Jan 31||Sep 1 – Jan 31- Ducks Jul 1 – Mar 31 – Geese **|
|Common Snipe||Aug 12 – Jan 31||Aug 12 – Jan 31||Sep 1 – Jan 31||Sep 1 – Jan 31|
|Jack Snipe||Protected||Protected||Sep 1 – Jan 31||Protected|
|Woodcock||Oct 1 – Jan 31||Sep 1 – Jan 31||Oct 1 – Jan 31||Oct 1 – Jan 31|
|Golden Plover||Sep 1 – Jan 31||Sep 1 – Jan 31||Sep 1 – Jan 31||Protected|
|Coot/Moorhen||Sep 1 – Jan 31||Sep 1 – Jan 31||Protected||Protected|
*HOST – Height of an Ordinary Spring Tide England, Wales and Scotland: Any area below the high-water mark of ordinary spring tides Isle of Man: * Currently a voluntary ban on shooting red grouse is in place. ** Geese can only be shot under a general licence under the Wildlife Act 1990. See the Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) website for terms and conditions of general licences here
* The Special Protection Order previously issued to give Irish hare additional protection is no longer in place and therefore the Irish Hare is now subject to an open season as above.
In England and Wales under the Ground Game Act 1880 occupiers of land have an inalienable right to kill and take ground game concurrent with any other person holding such a right. Occupiers or a person authorised by them, acting under the authority of this act may only kill or take ground game on moorland between 1 September and 31 March inclusive. Further under Section 1 (3) and Ground Game Amendment Act 1906 Section 2) Firearms may only be used for such purposes between 11 December and 31 March.
In Scotland, the occupier of the land or persons authorised by them may kill rabbit throughout the year on moorland and unenclosed land (not being arable) by all legal means but only by means of firearms during the period from 1 July to 31 March inclusive (Section 1 (3) of the Ground Game Act 1880 as modified by the Agriculture (Scotland) Act 1948). Hares are subject to a close season (Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act 2011) (see above).
Moorland and unenclosed land does not include arable land or detached portions of land less than 25 acres which adjoins arable land.